We may frequently behave selfishly as individuals, but in our more idealistic moments we honour and admire those who put welfare of others first

We may frequently behave selfishly as individuals, but in our more idealistic moments we honour and admire those who put welfare of others first

“Perhaps one reason for the great appeal of the group-selection theory is that it is thoroughly in tune with the moral and political ideals that most of us share. We may frequently behave selfishly as individuals, but in our more idealistic moments we honour and admire those who put welfare of others first. We get a bit muddled over how widely we want to interpret the word ‘others’, though. Often altruism within a group goes with selfishness between groups. This is a basis of trade unionism. At another level the nation is a major beneficiary of our altruistic self-sacrifice, and young men are expected to die as individuals for the greater glory of their country as a whole. Moreover, they are encouraged to kill other individuals about whom nothing is known except that they belong to a different nation. (Curiously, peace-time appeals for individuals to make some small sacrifice in the rate at which they increase their standard of living seem to be less effective than war-time appeals for individuals to lay down their lives.)”

The Selfish Gene P. 9

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